Corona residents gathered last Wednesday to talk trash.
As part of the ongoing $3 million effort to clean up Roosevelt Avenue, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-Corona) held a town hall meeting so residents could ask her and representatives from the Department of Sanitation and two community boards about sanitation issues. About 40 attended.
One concern that arose was “pooper-trators.”
The city has a poster campaign with a cute cartoon dog walker that says all Pooper-trators, or people who do not pick up after their dogs, if caught, will have to pay a $250 fine.
But what if no one is there to catch the irresponsible dog owners?
Department of Sanitation community liaison Bruno Iciano said he could send out undercover sanitation enforcement officers. If neighbors notice that a resident always walks his or her dog and then doesn’t pick up the “glass,” as Ferreras delicately called it, at 3 p.m. they can call sanitation.
The officers will then arrive early at 2:45 p.m. and wait for the person who fits the description. If the dog walker does not pick up after the pet, the enforcement officers will introduce themselves and serve the fine.
“It works tremendously well,” Iciano said. “And dog owners all know each other. One will get a fine and call their neighbors to warn them.”
Paper versions of the “pooper-trator” signs can be picked up at Ferreras’ office. Although it is illegal to hang them on trees and lampposts, residents can ask to put them on bulletin boards in businesses, or in the mail rooms of their apartment buildings, or laminate them and hang them on the fence around their yards.
Not picking up after dogs is not just an issue in Jackson Heights and Corona.
In Sunnyside, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) teamed with students at PS 150, who created their own hand-drawn posters, to address the problem.
Submissions were narrowed down to five and then 600 people voted online for their favorite one.
Second-grader Sophia Aguirre’s poster was dubbed the winner and has since been mass produced and handed out around Van Bramer’s district.
Another issue at Wednesday’s meeting was overflowing public garbage cans. One suggestion was that businesses could adopt a can. They would be responsible for taking the full bag out and putting in a new trash bag, which would be supplied by the Department of Sanitation.
Residents asked about bulk pickup as well. Home and business owners no longer need to schedule for couches and such to be removed.
Iciano asked that multiple items be spaced out because though they “eat their spinach,” New York’s strongest can still use a break. Each truck also can only haul a set amount of refuse.
Freon must be taken out of refrigerators before pickup. The department will do that for free or Con Edison has a program under which it takes the appliances and pays the owners $50 in return.